The speculation is over. After endless predictions, Steve Jobs finally unveiled Apple’s new tablet today at the Yerba Buena Center, dubbed the “iPad”.
Apple wisely is utilizing the success of the App Store. iPhone and iPod touch users will feel right at home as the iPad will be compatible with all iPhone OS apps. These apps can run in the same size as on the iPhone or scaled up to fill the screen of the iPad. Apple will be more successful with a tablet that is more iPod touch-like then Mac-like. Even with improving Mac sales, there is only so much penetration Mac will have on market share.
There will also be apps made specifically for the iPad. To show that the iPad is more then a multimedia device, Apple showed off a specially-designed tablet version of iWork. Keynote, Numbers, and Pages will be available for $10 each.
There will also be many great apps that are designed with the iPad in mind and will be bundled on the device, including Safari, Mail, Notes, Photos, iPod, iTunes, App Store, Maps, Calendar, Contacts, and iBooks.
iBooks is an app to read downloadable books in the open ePub format. iBooks will also have a built-in store to buy new books.
Pricing is far cheaper then I, as well as many analysts and bloggers, expected. The iPad will have a few different price points. The 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB models will cost $499, $599, and $699, respectively. These will only have Wi-Fi. Add $130 to any of these models to have 3G in addition to Wi-Fi. These prices are great considering that when the iPhone initially launched it went for $499 for the 4 GB model and $599 for the 8 GB version. The Wi-Fi only models will be out in 60 days, while the models with 3G will be out in 90 days.
The iPad has some nice specs. Weighing in at 1.5 pounds and 0.5 inches thick, the iPad has a 9.7 inch screen with 1024-by-768 resoution and fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating. The processor is a 1 Ghz Apple A4. Like the iPhone, there is an accelerometer, ambient light sensor, and Bluetooth.
There will be man accessories from Apple. The iPad case protects the front of the screen and can be adjusted in numerous ways depending on the situation the iPad is being used in. There is also a regular dock and another version with a keyboard and dock combined, which will be awesome for those long typing situations and people looking for a big, physical keyboard to pound away at. There are 2 different adaptors to import photos. One adaptor will allow importing of pictures by hooking the camera up to the iPad via USB. The other adaptor is compatible with SD cards.
There are 2 data plans, both are through AT&T and neither involve signing a contract and can be cancelled at anytime. The first plan includes a measly 250 MB per month for $14.99, while the second plan is unlimited data for $29.99 per month. The unlimited plan will probably have a soft data cap and will not be truly unlimited. All data plans will allow for free usage of AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots.
Some may wonder why the iPad is needed. When using my iPhone, I am sacrificing screen size for portability. iPad flips the script, providing a great screen to view movies and books while not being as portable as an iPhone.
There are a few downsides with the iPad. There is no support for Adobe Flash, which stinks because many video sites support it. There is also no ability to run applications in the background, which is surprising given the CPU speed. Also, AT&T is the sole provider for cellular data service and they already have had a tough enough time handling the iPhone and other smartphones. “With the iPhone and other smart devices, we saw a 7,000 percent increase in data usage over the last 13 quarters” said AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel. Verizon is not a carrier for the iPad, though there were many analysts who thought they would be. With Apple going towards multiple carrier models in other markets with the iPhone, it would be surprising if Apple did not go that route in the United States eventually
Apple has clearly positioned the iPad as a middle ground between the iPod touch/iPhone and MacBook. It looks to be great for people who want to surf the web and view media, or for kids as a laptop instead of a cheap netbook.